Abortion is illegal in Sri Lanka. Here at the Caritas Center, we have been working hard to raise awareness of the law, and to work with both concerned citizens and the police to stamp out this crime.
A key component of this work is our Awareness Programs, which we have organized throughout many regions in Sri Lanka. With these programs, we stress to people the importance of protecting human life. We inform them how they can get involved, and how they can help. If they know of an underground abortion clinic, we encourage them to keep an eye on it, and to contact the appropriate authorities, or to contact us at our Caritas Center, so that we can pass the appropriate information along to the police. Similarly, if they’ve actually visited an abortion clinic, we get the telephone number from them, and inform the police.
We also have held two awareness programs for police in the diocese of Chilaw, assisting them with our expertise in ferreting out the crime of abortion. They are now on the alert to track down undercover abortion mills.
Although it is illegal for abortions to be performed in any clinic in Sri Lanka, the police cannot raid an abortion facility until the abortionist is caught in the act. We have advised them to “sting” the clinics; send in someone to “get an abortion,” then catch them red-handed. The police continue to take action against this crime, and are on the lookout for centers that provide abortions.
Work in the Capitol
In Colombo, we telephoned a pharmacy that sells the abortifacient drug, Pregnon, and warned them to stop selling drugs of this nature.
We also visited the Officer in Charge of the Woman and Child Police Bureau in Colombo, gave him information, and action was taken. We maintain constant contact with him. He is very committed and always on the watch.
Work in Kegalle
A street drama was enacted near the Marie Stopes center in Kegalle, and there was a big crowd there to see it. We have also gone into this center and challenged the doctor who performs abortions. He is a retired doctor and was helping at the above Marie Stopes center. According to him, they perform four abortions a day at the rate of LKR 3000 (USD 28.60) per abortion. The second time we visited, he had the center closed for half a day.
Hope for the Future
Thanks to our Awareness Programs, many now understand the gravity and importance of the life issues, and have pledged that they will work hard to discourage woman and girls who are considering abortion.
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